Yes, the Soviets landed on Bornholm.
And the German garrison was taken into captivity, where they would stay for easily ten years. Likely somewhere in Siberia where far from everyone would return alive.
But prior to that the island had been bombed mainly by tactical fighter-bombers with the inevitable result.
A number of islanders were killed and wounded along with an unknown number of Germans. Hundreds were homeless. And that was the basis for more bitterness, because the homeless were rehoused, not by the Danish government, but by Sweden that shipped a number of prefabricated wooden houses to Bornholm.
Houses of that type was also to be seen in other places in Denmark after the war. Not to house homeless as such, but more as a temporary housing for low-income social groups. I.e. people with domestic issues, additions, single mothers, longterm unemployed and such. - Living in such a housing was not
something you talked about then, nor later! There was considerable stigma in living and have been living is such a place, also among the working class.
But the Soviets were welcomed by the Resistance fighters.
Here a Russian soldier is surrounded by local fighters.
- In many places in Soviet-liberated eastern Europe, not least Poland, non-Communist resistance groups were rounded up and arrested, or at the very least disarmed as soon as possible. That didn't happen on Bornholm though but within days the resistance was demobilized as the Russians took over enforcing order in co-operation with local authorities and later the Danish government. Soon the Soviets contended themselves with routine patrols and law and order - as well as the general running of the island was left in the hands of the Danes with hardly any interference by the Soviets.
Things soon evolved into a quiet routine. The military occupation of Bornholm was without risk and nothing happened. So the soldiers relaxed and mingled with the locals, heavily encouraged by their commanders and Danish Communists. This was intended and indeed was an exemplary liberation of an allied nation. The Soviet soldiers behavior was, with very few exceptions exemplary and apart from a few cultural misunderstandings the islanders and the Russians got along, perhaps not as much friends but more on friendly terms - it was after all an occupation and there were no Danish soldiers around.
It was a behavior completely different from how the Soviet troops behaved in Germany, but also Poland and Czechoslovakia and parts of Hungary - where they behaved like marauders.
Partly because they were under strict orders to behave but also because the war was over. This was a cozy posting. Peace. Hardly any ruins. Like the half-forgotten past in their villages back home. And food. Milk, butter, poultry, eggs. Things they had hardly tasted for years.
The soldiers in particular cultivated and got along well with the local children - who often reminded them of siblings or own children back home.
And eventually that also included the local girls. Imagine flirting and dancing with normal girls! - You couldn't understand them, but that was common in the Soviet Union no matter where you were stationed.
But the discipline in the Red Army was harsh! Even though the soldiers were allowed to let of steam in other part of Europe, that was not
the case on Bornholm! Transgressors were simply shipped off and shot, at best they could expect to send to a remote posting in Manchuria. That was also a reason for the exemplary behavior.
While the Danish government was less than visible on Bornholm in the months after the war, at least then crown prince Frederik and crown princess Ingrid visited the island, and here we have a very novel photo:
Soviet-Communist soldiers presenting arms to a genuine, active royal:
- I would love to hear the Commissars explaining that one to the soldiers on the regular political indoctrination meetings!
But eventually the Soviets left and Danish soldiers moved in. Equipped with all sorts of Allied surplus equipment I have a feeling the Soviet commandant wasn't that impressed with the conscripts here...
Now, why didn't the Danish Brigade, that was formed and stationed in Sweden, detach a battalion to Bornholm as soon as possible, "relieving" the Soviets there?
Mainly because the Danish Brigade after late 1944 was meant to prevent a Communist take over of Denmark and to ensure that a democratic government could take over and be secured. Mainly in Copenhagen. - And partly helping to actually liberate Denmark should that be necessary. But the Brigade was light, with very little artillery and hardly any armor. The Swedes needed what artillery and armor they could get their hands on themselves. - Against the Soviets...
But mainly, I think, because no one wanted to rock the boat. Danish and Soviet troops facing each other on Bornholm could easily lead to complications and Denmark could hardly expect support from the Western Allies. After all the Soviet Union was an ally, and the ally that had taken the brunt of fighting Germany.
Today Bornholm is still an idyllic island:
Such sights are the rule on Bornholm.
And there is a major SIGINT (*) station on Bornholm, quietly listening in on what goes on in the Baltic parts of Russia. And located at a less than provocative distance from Russia.
There has hardly never been any foreign NATO troops on Bornholm. Some claims that a unofficial reason for the Soviets leaving the island in 1946 was that no foreign troops should be stationed there.
I don't believe that one though. NATO, and the Cold War was still a couple of years in the future in 1946. And even though various Danish governments to this day has quietly made sure no official foreign NATO troops are stationed on Bornholm that IMO has more to do with keeping things calm in the Baltic. Something everybody, including the Warsaw Pact and NATO, was interested in.
Because there was really nothing the Soviets could do, had say Italian troops been stationed on Bornholm in say 1965.
(Signals Intelligence = listening post with very